Fall in Hokkaido is a spectacular sight.
You’re blanketed by the deep, vibrant colors of autumn everywhere you look.
At first, the greenery changes to the pale yellows that signal the coming of the season. Then all of a sudden, the trees turn a fiery red or orange that you just can’t help wonder how amazing nature is.
I think part of it is because yellow is my favorite color so I feel like I am surrounded by the light and warmth of it all season. In particular, the yellow leaves of the ginko trees always captivate me, no matter how old I get or how many times I see them during the season.
Fall is also the time for harvest, as most countries in the temperate climates know. There’s lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkins, and persimmons. Again, colors in the red, orange, and yellow schemes. They are not only delicious, they are also beautiful to look at.
I love going to the farmer’s markets and seeing the various types of apples and pumpkin varieties. Each week I get to try out a different type of pumpkin and discover my favorites.
And of course, one of the best ways to celebrate the harvest is to have a giant festival in Odori Park: the Sapporo Autumn Festa. It is my favorite event for the year, even more than the Snow and Beer Festivals. I know. I feel like a bad person for saying that, since these two festivals are what draws the most crowds to Hokkaido.
Fall also brings other more important, events, like the weather finally cooling. This year’s summer has been especially hot. I welcome the blessed relief from the heat. The months of July and August were stifling, but there lots of sunny days. What better way to spend them than outside, driving, running, swimming, or camping. Because Hokkaido summers are short, people tend to pack all their fun activities into these few weeks of good weather.
Come September, most people are back to their regular routines.
To be honest, even the month of October was unseasonably warm. Normally, I would already be rocking my fleece or down coat. The scarves and the gloves would come out of the closet. But last month, I was okay with just a light jacket.
Fall is also a time to take stock. I usually liken it to a rebirth for me. I love the slower pace of life. Summer time was all go-go-go-go. Then we hit fall. It’s like Autumn’s cooler months have put the breaks on the hectic pace of activity. Now, people go out to the forests to celebrate kouyou, or the autumn leaf viewing season. You’re forced to really slow down and take it easy.
This is also the perfect time to indulge in a nice hot cup of tea, or coffee. Or even better, wine from the local wineries. After all, fall also brings grapes into season…You can’t get any more local than wine from Otaru or Tokachi.